Allergan Establishes R&D Center in Kendall Square to Open in Q1 2019

Allergan logo on sign outside office building

The white-hot biotech hub of Kendall Square just got a little bit more crowded. Ireland-based Allergan plc announced this morning that the company will establish an R&D facility in the Cambridge, Mass. neighborhood.

David Nicholson, head of R&D for the company, said the decision to place a research and development facility in Kendall Square, a BioSpace HotBed region known as Genetown, was an easy decision. In a statement about the new facility, Nicholson noted that many of the driving sources of innovation in pharma research are coming from smaller biotechnology and pharma companies – many of which are located in and around that one-square-mile area of Kendall Square. By opening an R&D site in Kendall Square, Nicholson said it creates a strategic presence that will allow Allergan to “more easily interact and engage with venture firms and start-ups” in the surrounding area.

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In its announcement, Allergan did not provide any information as to how many employees the new R&D site will maintain, nor did the company provide any specificity about particular R&D goals this site may have. The facility is expected to open in the first quarter of 2019.

The new Kendall Square-based R&D site will be helmed by Don Frail, the company’s head of Research and External Scientific Innovation (RESI) and Non-Clinical and Translational Sciences. Frail has served with Allergan since 2014. He has been based in the company’s R&D center in Irvine, Calif., where he led the Research, Clinical Pharmacology, Toxicology and ADME departments including the External Science & Innovation initiatives to evaluate and implement partnerships and acquisitions across Allergan's four key therapeutic areas. In addition to his duties in Cambridge, Frail will continue to lead the Irvine-based R&D team, the company said. The Irvine site will continue to remain critical to Allergan, Frail noted. He said the California facility will continue to be the “home of R&D” and “retain its long-established External Scientific Innovation and Non-Clinical Translational Sciences team.”

Frail, who previously led the Emerging Innovations Unit at AstraZeneca, said he is looking forward to establishing Allergan’s presence in the Boson area and continue to identify “cutting-edge technologies and opportunities that deliver the highest value to patients and their healthcare providers.” Frail added that the new group in Cambridge will be integrated within the organization and serve as a portal to the company’s other R&D sites in Madison, N.J., San Francisco and elsewhere across the globe.

“I am confident that our new location in Cambridge, along with Don's deep expertise will accelerate the evaluation of scientific opportunities and further deliver on our Open Science model and the next wave of potentially transformational medicines,” Nicholson said in a statement.

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